TURA, Nov 11: State Excise Minister, Zenith Sangma has pointed out the need for better packaging and promotion of the famed Wangala dance which depicts the Garo way of life and their agrarian culture.
Speaking at the closing day of the festival, Sangma said, “Through Wangala festival, we can showcase the rich and vibrant culture of the Garos and connect with the rest of the world.”
He also pointed out that the state government has been promoting cultural events of different tribes of Meghalaya as it benefits the local community and promotes tourism. “It would be wise to innovate and package the festival in a way that attracts tourist, so that maximum benefit can be availed by the local communities”, he said in this regard.
It is pertinent to note that Sangma also handed over a cheque of Rs. 20 lakh to the organizers of the festival.
The festival this year witnessed a lot of international tourist footfall with people from Germany, USA, England witnessing the event. A contingent from Assam’s Karbi Anglong and students from Shillong College also took part in the festival this year.
The festival also saw various indigenous sports and cultural competitions.
During the function, the outgoing chairman of the Wangala Committee L K Marak was also felicitated for his 25 years of dedicated service and contribution towards the welfare of the society.
The 10 dance contingent who participated in the competition were Gondenggre, Watregre, Rengsangre-Selbalgre, Gambarigri, Rom-Tingmangre, Wadagre, Sadolbra, Chidaogre, Dingnabra and Darichikgre. The winner of this year’s wangala competition is Chidaogre followed byWadagre and Dingnabra dance troupes.
Wangala is a post harvest thanking giving festival, wherein the Songsarek (non-Christian Garos) pay their obeisance to the great giver deity Misi Saljong for good harvest. It is observed in all non-Christian villages of Garo hills, however, the 100 drums Wangala festival depicts the practice of the Songsarek for the larger audience, who are unable to visit the villages to explore the festival.